Some highlights of the January 25, 2017 Executive Order:
Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements
by Farhad Sethna, Attorney, © 2017
On January 25, 2017, President Donald J. Trump issued an executive order (EO) requiring government agencies undertake certain border security and immigration enforcement tasks.
The EO is nothing new; it simply starts the implementation process of several of Trump’s campaign promises – so it will be viewed as evidence of his integrity by those who supported him. However, on several issues, as discussed below, its’ proof of the typical Trump “Bait and Switch” strategy.
Following is a summary and a critique of some parts of the EO that I felt were most detrimental to immigrants (as well as false and unrealistic)
Build a wall – the EO abandons any pretense that Mexico will pay for the wall. The EO specifically instructs the DHS to “allocate all sources of federal funds for the planning, designing, and constructing of a physical wall along the southern border.” Also, for the DHS to prepare “Congressional budget requests for the current and upcoming fiscal years;” Huh? I thought this Beautiful Wall was going to be paid for by Mexico? (EO Section 4 (b), (c))
Construction of more detention facilities – how the US will pay for those, don’t even ask (EO Section 5)
Hire 5,000 additional Border Patrol Agents: of course, the Border Patrol union endorsed Trump, and were able to get the Trump team to fire their own boss, former FBI agent Mark Morgan. So naturally, Trump wants more Border Patrol agents. But wait – I thought Republicans didn’t like unions? I guess they’re like Democrats – they like unions as long as the unions support them. Oh I see – silly me – that’s really how it works. (EO Section 8)
In another slap on the other cheek to Mexico (one cheek already got slapped with the Wall thing), Trump then asks the head of each executive department and agency (there’s a lot, believe me!), to “identify and quantify all sources of direct and indirect Federal aid or assistance to the Government of Mexico on an annual basis over the last five years…”, and present the report within 60 days. What’s that for? To humiliate Mexico? Great way to strengthen our southern border, insult a proud nation. That will really ramp up cooperation on a whole host of fronts. (EO Section 9)
Reintroduction of 287 (g) agreements: The Obama administration which had terminated all its Immigration Act § 287 (g) agreements which deputized local law enforcement into hard charging immigration agents was also slapped down. The EO specifically instructs the DHS to reenter into 287(g) agreements, thus incentivizing local law enforcement that may already be racially biased into further racial profiling, arrests of minorities, and “foreign-looking” folk. Great going, especially when even immigration professionals have a hard time identifying valid legal immigration status and genuine documents. (EO Section 10)
Priority enforcement along the Southern Border: This section is so transparently biased against non-white individuals it’s absolutely ludicrous. What about enforcement along the Northern Border? Or enforcement against visa overstays? Or blatant visa rejections for people of color, while Europeans or Canadians get a friendly welcome? (EO Section 13)
Hire more staff: the Secretary of DHS can hire more personnel to implement the EO. But wait – I thought one of Trump’s first actions was to freeze Federal hiring? “Bloated bureaucracies”, Shrink the Federal government, abolish entire departments, etc? What happened? Short term memory loss, that’s what happened. (EO Section 16)
None of this should be unexpected to those who watched Trump’s shifting positions throughout the campaign. Now that the time has actually come to implement his promises, he’s going to need all the smoke and mirrors he can muster. Hopefully the electorate which picked Trump calls him out and doesn’t develop collective amnesia.
About the author: Attorney Farhad Sethna has practiced law for over 25 years. Since 1996, he has been an adjunct professor of Immigration Law at the University of Akron, School of Law, in Akron, Ohio. He is a frequent speaker at Continuing Legal Education and professional development seminars on various immigration-related topics. His practice is limited to immigration and small business. With offices in Cuyahoga Falls, Akron and Dover, Ohio, Attorney Sethna represents clients in all types of immigration cases. Our number is: (330)-384-8000. Please send your general immigration questions to AttorneySethna@immigration-america.com. We will try to answer as many questions as possible.